The history of Madrid, like any old city can boast a lot of stories and legends. Some of them acquired the status of myth while others became rumors. Touring the sites of Madrid you will come across a lot of strange and at the same time exciting stories.
Plaza de la Paja is one of the bright examples of such stories and rumors. It was once a real city center while the famous Plaza Mayor was a small and a dusty one. From the square one can see the tower of San Pedro El Viejo church. The history of the church is covered with different legends. It is said that the first bell to ring from the tower raised and hung itself in the tower unaided. When workers tried to bring it up it stuck among the walls. When they came there the next day, it was already hanging on its designed place.
Next to the church there is a nice garden of the Prince of Angola. It is nowadays open to all visitors and is one of the most beautiful gardens in Madrid.
In the 9th century Madrid used to be an Arab city called Mayrit. Currently there is a Moorish quarter with a famous Plaza de Alamillo. The origin of the square is uncertain. It is still a mystery whether its name derives from the trees that had been planted there or the Arab Court (the word alamud in Arabic means court).
Arabic influence on the city of Madrid is also marked with another legend. It is not a secret that Madrillenos are sometimes called “Gatos” (cats). This is not because they look or behave like cats but because of the old legend. It is about a young man that during the Arab invasion managed to climb the tall wall like a cat. His family took the name Gato. Since then the legend has been passed from generation to generation.
Everyone who comes to Madrid should definitely visit Segovia to see its Aqueduct. It was built between 1872 and 1874. It is Segovia’s main attraction and the most recognizable landmark located only one hour train ride from Madrid. According to one of the legends, in the 19th century it used to be the place very often chosen for suicide acts. A young girl, whose family didn't allow her to marry the beloved one, was wishing for death. She came to the aqueduct and when she jumped her skirt got caught and she survived.
For those of you willing to hear these and even more mysterious legends, Madrid streets and sites have a lot in store for you.